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Past means nothing as Hawks confidence grows

Two medals the goal for Gunston Jack Gunston speaks to HawksTV about Saturday's Grand Final.
Jack Gunston of the Hawks celebrates a goal during the 2014 AFL Round 23 match between the Collingwood Magpies and the Hawthorn Hawks at the MCG, Melbourne on August 29, 2014. (Photo: Darrian Traynor/AFL Media)
Jack Gunston.

JACK Gunston says the Hawks are confident heading into Saturday’s Grand Final against Sydney at the MCG.

The Hawks will enter the game as underdogs with the bookies after recording a nail-biting win over Port Adelaide a day after Sydney thumped North Melbourne to reach the decider.

Alastair Clarkson’s team is confident though, after beating the Swans in the last meeting between the two sides.

But Gunston knows past encounters count for nothing once the white line is crossed.

“The Grand Final’s a different ball game whether you’ve won both of them or lost both of them (the games during the year),” he told hawthornfc.com.au

“It’s always going to be different on Grand Final day.

“Obviously we’ll take a lot of confidence going in, we played some alright footy last (week) and we’ve being playing some good footy throughout the year.

“We’re obviously going to be going in confident but so are they.

“They’ve been playing some good footy and had a good prelim win the other night so it’s going to be a great battle.”

Gunston will be playing in his third straight Grand Final after crossing from Adelaide to Hawthorn at the end of 2011.

He says getting to Saturday’s game has been the goal since day one of pre-season ahead of the 2014 season.

“I’m pretty happy with the way it’s all panned out,” he said of the move.

“I’m one and one so far so it would be nice to have two medals and one loss (but) we’ll see how we go.

“At the start of the year we were hoping to get to this point. It’s been a long year and we’ve played some good footy along the way.

“It’s what you play footy for, what you go out each week trying to achieve and get the win every week and put yourself in the position to play in the Grand Final.

“I know the boys are pretty pumped.”

The Hawks will need to overcome a red-hot Sydney who defeated the Kangaroos by 71 points in their Preliminary Final.

While they ran out comfortable winners, their inaccuracy in front of goal cost them a bigger winning margin.

The Swans finished with 19.22 for the game and were inaccurate too against the Hawks in Round 18.

The Hawks prevailed on that night by 10 points, finishing 15.14 to 13.16, with Gunston revealing accuracy in front of goal has been a focus for the Hawks since the 2012 Grand Final loss to the Swans.

Clarkson’s team learnt the hard way that missing opportunities costs you in big games and were the beneficiaries last week as the Power failed to capitalise on their first quarter dominance, kicking 3.9 before being beaten by an accurate Hawthorn.

The Hawks kicked only seven behinds for the match, two less than Port’s return in the opening quarter, rarely missing a chance to convert an opportunity to apply scoreboard pressure.

That return has continued a trend for the Hawks this year, with their hard work over pre-season paying off.

Hawthorn’s goal kicking accuracy is 59 per cent this year – 2.9 per cent up on last year and 6 per cent up on 2012 – a figure that will be critical in Saturday’s Grand Final.

“They (Port Adelaide) had a fair few shots and could’ve put us away early in the game and made it really tough for us to come back,” Gunston told hawthornfc.com.au

“We learnt the hard way in 2012, we missed a lot of shots that we should normally kick and have made that a real focus over the past two years.

“Obviously in big games you want to be kicking your goals so hopefully we can go out and do the same this week.”

Gunston is one of Hawthorn’s most accurate this season, kicking 56.24 for the year, while Luke Breust has recorded a remarkable 54.11 and Jarryd Roughead 70.42.